Harpenden karate coach crowned world champion
PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 November 2016
A former staff member at Harpenden St George's School has followed in the footsteps of his dad - by becoming karate world champion.
Jordan Thomas, who still teaches a class every Thursday at the school, won the 67kg crown at the tournament in Linz, Austria defeating Yves Martial Tadissi of Hungary in the final.
It was the first title for a Briton since 2004 and meant the Thomas emulated his father Willie, now coach of the England karate national team, who won gold in 1992.
And despite the 24-year-old picking up European gold in 2012, this was the one that he wanted most.
“It has been a long time coming,” he told englishkaratefederation.com. “I have been dreaming about this since I was a boy.
“[My dad] led the way. He could not be a better role model for me and I have to dedicate it to the hard work he and I did to get this medal.
“I know my history and I know where I come from. But it is a new generation. English and British Karate are on the rise.”
It is not just in Great Britain where karate is showing an upturn in fortunes. It was announced in August that the sport would be included in the Olympics for the very first time at Tokyo 2020.
That title will be firmly in the sights of Thomas, who went into the world championships ranked 11 in the world but has now risen to fourth.
And he will be hoping that unlike in Austria, where he had to pay his own way to the championship, his success will allow more funding to enter the sport.
As the sport has only recently joined the Olympic programme it didn’t previously qualify for UK Sport funding.
UK Sport is due to reveal its funding awards for the four-year cycle leading into the 2020 Games in the coming month.